The underlying premise of Beyond Redemption can be found in a song.
It was 2007/2008 and I worked as an audio engineer in Toronto. I spent my nights in shitty clubs–losing my mind and my hearing–and my days playing first person shooters. I hadn’t yet written 88 (or anything) but I was beginning to feel like maybe my life might be missing something. The urge to write was growing, but still I set it aside as a stupid pipe-dream. I had bills to pay, booze to buy, and I’d just met the most awesome woman in all the world and, beyond all expectations, she seemed to be willing to tolerate me.
When not going deaf in stinking night clubs, I recorded an assortment of local bands. Dirty Penny was one such band. While recording and mixing their album, Sage Against the Machine, one of the songs caught my attention. It was called Atahualpa and was about the meeting of the Spanish Conquistador, Franciso Pizarro, and the Incan King, Atahualpa. The song was about the clash of ideologies, the battle between conflicting beliefs in how reality worked. Okay, not really. It was kind of about that. Maybe I read a little into it. I dunno. But the damned idea wouldn’t leave me alone.
Years later, after I’d written 88 but before I’d found a publisher, I decided to try my hand at writing short stories. I will freely admit, I had no real interest in short stories. I saw them as a means to an end. I’d write short stories, gain cred as a writer, and then people would be more willing to look at the novel I’d written.
Yeah, it was going to be that easy.
I wrote a short story, Fire and Flesh, about the conflict between Pizarro and Atahualpa and replaced the Spanish muskets with Manifest Delusions. This was the first time I explored the idea and though the story shared some similarities with Beyond Redemption, a lot changed.
The story (unlike most of my short stories) did eventually sell and can be found in the Arcane II anthology. At some point I’ll put the story up in the Free Fiction section here. Uh…maybe I could do that now. Maybe… Okay, there it is. Done.
A rock song by a local Toronto band was the initial inspiration for the world of Manifest Delusions.
After that I realized I wanted to write something beyond the typical fantasy tropes. I was tired of books with picture of beautiful people with swords on the cover. I wanted ugly. I was tired of oh, he’s an anti hero, but he’s still really a nice guy and has (kinda hidden) redeeming features. I wanted bad-asses who stubbornly refused to learn. I wanted people who would gut you for a nickel. And then I wanted them to kidnap an innocent child.
Nothing ever goes quite as planned, but there you have it, the inspiration for Beyond Redemption.